Is Kalanchoe Toxic to Cats?

Err.. Trust me that doesn't taste good
Pet with a plant (Source: Pixabay)

Pets have been the great old friends of humans since their coexistence during the evolutionary periods. And plants definitely are a part of human existence.

But, unfortunately, sometimes we cannot take both of them hand in hand. The challenge is many beautiful indoor plants are indeed toxic to pets like cats, dogs, horses, etc.

So the question over here is, is Kalanchoe Toxic to cats?

Kanalchoe is mild to severely toxic to cats depending upon the amount and parts ingested. It contains cardiotoxic bufadienolides responsible for heart-related issues. The most poisonous part of Kanchoe is its vibrant tiny flowers.

Pink Kalanchoe
Pink Kalanchoe (Source: Public Pictures Domain)

So, it is more than clear that you need to take precautionary steps if you want both of them in your space.

The article provides you with all of the information you need about Kalanchoe toxicity in cats.

Is Kalanchoe Toxic to Cats?

If you are someone who adores tiny clusters of bright flowers, you cannot resist buying Kalanchoe.

But, wait, do you own cats? If so, you first need to understand, is Kalanchoe toxic to cats?

All parts of Kalanchoe are toxic to cats and all other pets. They contain cardiac glycosides or cardiotoxins, which are harmful compounds that hinder the functioning of the cat’s heart.

Kalanchoe
Kalanchoe (Source: Pexels)

Moreover, the plant’s toxicity level increases during spring and summer when its flowers bloom. Its flowers are highly toxic compared to other parts (stem, roots, and leaves).

What makes its flower more toxic is the level of concentration of glycosides. Hence, the severity or complexion is more when your cat has nibbled its flower.

According to ASPCA, the dose or the level of toxicity of Kalanchoe in smaller animals is yet unidentified.

However, in larger animals like calves, its toxicity or lethal consists of about 7 g of flowers/kg body weight or 40 g of leaves/kg body weight.

The lethal dose of Kalanchoe depends on the amount ingested and species.

Kalanchoe poisoning can be mild to severe depending upon the variety, and amount/part ingested. Generally, flowering species are more toxic compared to non-flowering types.

What Happens When Cats Ingest Kalanchoe?

When cats ingest cardiotoxic bufadienolides present in the Kalanchoe, it disrupts the sodium-potassium (Na-k) balance in the myocardial cell membrane of their (cats) heart.

So this off-balance causes high intracellular sodium levels while decreasing the intercellular potassium level hindering the pacemaking function of the myocardium.

Ultimately, the hindrance leads to the cessation of the heart’s electrical and mechanical activity, resulting in dysfunctional cardiac activities.

I shouldn't eat this. But what if it's tasty?
I shouldn’t eat this. But what if it’s tasty? (Source: Tenor)

Symptoms of Kalanchoe Poisoning

Generally, Kalanchoe is mildly toxic to cats; thus, your cat might show few mild symptoms of ingestion.

The report of ASPCA  suggests that the pets might start exhibiting symptoms within a few hours of ingestion. Besides, the toxicity level depends on the amount, parts, and varieties consumed.

Mild Kalanchoe poisoning symptoms in cats include;

  • Drooling, pawing at the mouth,
  • Irritability, restlessness,
  • Signs of gastrointestinal irritation like diarrhea and abdominal pain
  • Hemorrhagic enteritis
  • Excessive salivation
Cat Sniffing a flowering plant.
Let me sniff it first though it is not safe (Source: Pet keen)

However, in case of a higher amount of ingestion, they might develop some other server symptoms. Your cat might have the following cardiac effects.

  • Change in heart rate and rhythm (arrhythmias),
  • Weakness and extreme coldness,
  • Dyspnea,
  • Anorexia,
  • Tachycardia
  • Severe weakness, cold extremities, and even may collapse
  • Cyanosis, Arrhythmias, and persistent diarrhea.

If the treatment is not done in time, the toxicosis progresses rapidly. Your cat might develop severe arrhythmias along with atrioventricular blockage.

Its vivid signs are trembling due to extreme coldness, weakness, and partial consciousness. On the incidence of toxicosis, it might collapse and kill your cat due to cardiac arrest.

Depending on the dose level, its symptoms might last from 12 hours to 4-5 days.

However, do not fear as the cardiac effects are rare in the case of cats. Consumption of a significant amount of flowers might cause such severe symptoms.

Diagnosis of Kalanchoe Poisoning

The treatment process is easier, faster, and more effective if you could diagnose your cat nibbling Kalanchoe earlier.

Further, early diagnosis prevents form long-term effects on your cats. And you can counteract the harm sustained or effects of ingestion quickly.

1. Diagnosis at Home

If you see your curious cat nibbling Kalanchoe, you would be lucky as you can get into treatment immediately.

But save the bitten parts to show the veteran the amount of Kalanchoe the cat nibbled.

However, it is not always the case. Hence, if your cat shows slight symptoms of sickness, lethargy, and irritability, buckle up.

First, inspect signs of nibbling or bite marks in your Kalanchoe; sadly, your cat is in trouble if you find one. If not, the diagnostic process is going to be difficult.

Pet with Plant
Cat nibbling the plant (source: Maxpixel)

2. Diagnosis by Veterinarian

Even though you diagnose Kalanchoe poisoning in your cats, it is necessary to take medical assistance.

So, I highly recommend visiting a veteran for an adequate diagnosis.

Here, let me share with you that there are no definitive tests to inspect Kalanchoe ingestion in pets.

However, biomedical tests for the content of cardiac glycosides from gastrointestinal parts can help detect poisoning.

The vet will ask you for the symptoms and earlier medical history of poisoning during diagnosis. Share the detailed information and relax as the vet will conduct the necessary procedure.

  • Most veterinarians recommend a physical inspection to detect pale gums caused by internal bleeding, a racing heart, spitting up blood, etc.
  • A blood sample will aid in determining a metabolic profile, complete blood count, and electrolyte level.
  • Urinalysis can help identify liver and kidney disease caused by calcium oxalate crystals.
  • An endoscopy may follow when the prior results may seem inconclusive.
Cat Undergoing through Treatment
Cat Undergoing through Treatment (Source: Hippopx)

Treatment for Kalanchoe Poisoning in cats

Generally, medical assistance is needed for Kalanchoe poisoning. However, if the cat has bitten only a small portion and is not showing severe symptoms, you might treat them at home.

1. First Aid Treatment

Here are some of the first aids for Kalanchoe poisoning in cats.

  • First, inspect the mouth of the cat for any Kalanchoe pieces. Save them if you find any to show to the vet.
  • Then, move your cat to a well-ventilated space. The fluctuating heart rate brings breathing difficulties.
  • Thoroughly rinse its mouth with distilled water.
  • Allow your cat to drink water.
  • Afterward, you can feed them yogurt or milk as it is rich in calcium and soothes the gastrointestinal burning sensation.
  • To decontaminate their stomach, provide 3 percent hydrogen peroxide orally at a dose of 1 teaspoon for 5-10 pounds of body weight. When attempting to induce vomiting, though, make sure they are conscious.
  • Remember to clean up the vomit and dispose of it away from other pets and children.
  • To detoxify your cat’s insides, inject it with activated charcoal syrup. For every pound of cat, use one gram of activated powder.

Be Aware! Do not feed your cat anything before consulting with veterans. Also, avoid feeding them forcefully.

Here are some contact details in case your cat is poisoned. Take advice from these hotlines.

First Aid Kits

Name of First Aid Kids Brands
American Supplies Pet First Aid kitAmerican Pet Supplies
Pet First Aid Cat KitRayco International
ARCA PET Cat & Dog First Aid KitARCA

2. Veterinarian Treatment

Generally, Kalanchoe poisoning is symptomatic in cats. However, it sometimes might be asymptomatic. In both cases, you will need medical treatment.

If your cat is constantly scratching and unusually pawing, it might have skin irritation. Wash the affected parts with soap water.

If the procedure does not help, provide your cat shower with lukewarm water and soap.

Try to keep your cat calm during treatment as higher mobility and irritability increases the risks of cardiac issues.

Veterinarian Examining the Cat
Veterinarian Examining the Cat (Source: Free SVG)

Here are the other treatment procedures involved for Kalanchoe poisoning.

  • First, the veteran will undergo physical examination like blood pressure, heart rate, body temperature, reflexes, etc.
  • Then, they provide cats with intravenous fluids to maintain their heart rate.
  • Likewise, the vet might conduct gastric lavage with saline solution to clear remaining toxins from the stomach.
  • Electrocardiographic monitoring might be done in case of severe cardiac abnormalities.

Note: It is essential to induce gastric lavage or vomiting in asymptomatic conditions after the confirmation of ingestion.

According to the research article on Kalanchoe posing in cats following medicines are recommended.

  • In case of arrhythmias, you can provide Antiarrhythmic drugs to your cat.  Antiarrhythmic medicines include potassium chloride, procainamide hydrochloride, lidocaine hydrochloride, or atropine sulfate.

Similar here are common medicines you can introduce to your cats to cure minor symptoms like swelling, diarrhea, vomiting, etc.

MedicinesDosagePurpose
AnticonvulsantsPhenobarbital:2-3 mg per pound twice a dayRelieves nerve pain
Muscle RelaxantsMethocarbamol:7-20 mg/ pound

5mg/ cat (Baclofen- causes toxicity on higher dose)
Muscle relaxation and control muscle spasm
Antiemetics100-200ml of fluids at one time.To stabilize vomiting
Anti-diarrheal agentsMetronidazole:7.5 - 10 mg/ kg

Tylosin:15 mg/ kg )
To reduce intestinal inflammation and stop diarrhea
ProtectantsSucralfate:1/4 to 1/2 gm every 6 to 8 hoursTo protect internal organs from acids and toxins.
Activated Charcoal1-5 gm/ kgTo lessen effects of poisoning
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)Robenacoxib:1 mg/ kg per day

Meloxicam:0.2 mg/ kg per day
To reduce inflammation and bring down high temperature

Disclaimer: Do not use any of the medication without the prescription of the veterans.

Recovery of Poisoned Cat

The severity of Kalanchoe poisoning is directly proportional to the parts consumed and the amount consumed. And the recovery period is directly proportional to the level of poisoning.

In case of mild poisoning, your cat will likely recover within 12-24 hours. However, the recovery period ranges from 4-5 days to about two weeks in case of severe poisoning.

Besides, the recovery process is also highly influenced by care, nutrition supplies, hydration, and timely medication.

sick cat due to lucky bamboo poisoning
Sick Cat After Poisoning (Source: Unsplash)

Hence, ensure to provide your cat with the best care for faster recovery.

Here are the stages that occur after cats ingest Kalanchoe.

4-9 hours = The cat starts developing symptoms like drooling, vomiting, irritability, diarrhea, breathing difficulties, etc.

9-24 hours = If the medication is not provided, cats develop severe symptoms of cardiac dysfunction, irregular and fast heart rate, dyspnea, anorexia, etc.

After you inspect them with medicine, generally, these symptoms start fading. Your cat might completely recover within this period.

Two weeks = However, recovery will be delayed in case of severe poisoning. At this stage, your cat will have only mild symptoms and will recover completely.

How to Prevent your Cats from Eating Kalanchoe?

Cats are innocent yet curious creatures who are difficult to confine.

As a result, it is not uncommon for these agile creatures to approach and occasionally munch on houseplants.

However, you can avoid this by maintaining safety precautions.

Here are several methods for keeping your cats from eating Kalanchoe.

  • Place your Kalanchoe at a height where the cat cannot climb. However, if you keep them on shelves or furniture, the cat might easily reach them.
  • Placing plants inside a greenhouse is another safe way of distancing cats from plants.
  • Next, you can use cat repellent sprays like Inscape Data Cat Spray Deterrent as it functions without harming your plant.
Cat Repellent Spray
Cat Repellent Spray (Source: Amazon)
  • Similarly, cats hate the smell of citrus and peppermint oil. Use them to safeguard your Kalanchoe from cats.
  • Likewise, lavender and rosemary can distance your act from Kalanchoe.
  • Cats nibbles plant out of boredom. Hence, keep artificial or cat-safe plants to fulfill their desire.
  • If you have Kalanchoe outdoors, ensure to fence them.
  • Sprinkling coffee grounds is another method. But, it is not a highly reliable method.
  • If you have cat-friendly chewing grass in your house, you can keep cats away from Kalanchoe. Cat grass, basil, mint, catnip, lavender, cat thyme, and mint are all chewable plants.
Plants hanging in a pot
Plants hanging in a pot (Source: Rawpixel)

You might be interested in learning 20 Amazing Kalanhoe Varieties You will Love.

Conclusion

Do not panic even if your cat has nibbled Kalanchoe. Yes, it is poisonous and exhibits unpleasant symptoms. However, it is treatable.

Consult a local veteran or take help filing the hotlines mentioned above immediately. Ensure to hydrate, and supply your cat with timely medication and nutrition.

Besides, an important lesson is that you should always keep Kalanchoe out of the reach of your cats.

Related articles:  Are ZZ Plant, Peace Lilies, Snake plant Toxic to Cats?

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